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SCI FI Announces Major Cast Changes for Stargate Atlantis Season 5

SCI FI Channel just announced major cast changes on Stargate Atlantis which begins production on its fifth season later this month.

Amanda Tapping leaves the show to star in her own production, the on-line series Sanctuary recently picked-up for broadcast by SCI FI.

SCI FI hints that big changes are ahead as season four (airing now, Friday’s at 10p) unwinds.   "Some cherished friends are lost, others are found," said the net in their press release this morning, "new alliances are forged while new races are introduced."

Long-time recurring character “Richard Woolsey,” (Robert Picardo) joins the Stargate Atlantis cast on a full-time basis.  Woolsey will assume command of the Atlantis expedition.

And here’s some news that will have quite a few fans squeeing.  Per the press release:  "Fan favorite Paul McGillion, will return for five episodes to reprise his role as the beloved ‘Dr. Carson Beckett.’" Yeessssssss!

Fans campaigned hard for his reinstatement.  (Click here for their website,  Of course, we’d like to see more of Paul but kudos to SCI FI and producers for paying attention to the fans.

Amanda Tapping ("Colonel Samantha Carter") will guest in several episodes and, states the press release, "Stargate SG-1 star Michael Shanks ("Dr. Daniel Jackson") will appear as a special guest in episodes as well."

So, Daniel comes to Atlantis.  Finally!  This topped the wish list of many Stargate fans.  And that’s "episodes" with an "s."  (This Shanks fan hang-out, Michael Shanks On-Line, is now his official website.)

It certainly looks like SCI FI is reading the fannish tea leaves and casting accordingly. 

The Atlantis production is not encumbered by the writers’ strike.  The series is shot in Vancouver and the writers and hyphenate producers are reportedly members of the WGC (Writers Guild of Canada) and not the WGA.  (A good write-up on the topic can be found here on another Stargate fansite called Solutions.)

At some point during the twenty-episode season five production, Atlantis will cross the 100th episode threshhold.